Scheduled Mainenance?


I recently received a notice from the dealership that my Toyota Tundra is due for its “15000 mile service” - And if I take it to them now, I get the discount price of $165.00.

Since I don’t trust anybody who wants my money, I read the fine print…

and I quote - “lube, oil & filter, inpect & adjust brakes, rotate & inspect tires; set tire pressure, top off fluids; inspect the following: air filter, exterior lights, ball joints/covers, brake lines/hoses, automatic transmission fluid, drive shaft boots, exhaust system, steering gear/linkage/boots, chasis nuts & bolts, complete road test.”

Now I don’t know about you, but that looks to me more like an overpriced oil change and brake adjustment to me…

along with a whole lotta inspecting. In other words, a whole bunch of things some mechanic looks at and says, ‘hmm… it appears to be where it oughtta be’ and then checks off a line on his clipboard.

Hardly worth $40.00 as far as I can see.

I thought to myself, ‘hmmm… I see one way this might be worth some of what they’re charging me’. So, I called up the service dept and asked the guy, ‘It says here that you top off all fluids. So I expect your gonna fill my tank with gasoline too, right?’ [I figured if I went there on empty, it might make it sorta worthwhile- since gasoline here is $219.00/gallon]

‘Tee hee!’, was the first thing he said. ‘No, we just top off the fluids under the hood’. Then I said, ‘Well, the gasoline travels from the tank to under the hood, so technically it’s under the hood. And besides, it says here you top off ALL liquids.’

The man says, ‘sorry, gas is not included’.

So, I said, ‘how much time does it take for this service?’

He replied, ‘Hour… hour and a half’.

So much for that!

I have some questions for the experts here.

1) What do you think the cost should be for the above service?

2) Do you believe the ‘inspections’ are worth anything and do they really do them?

3) Couldn’t I do almost all of the above? [I won’t touch the brakes]

As an aside, I was looking at my truck manual and it says to change the spark plugs at 30,000 miles or 24 months - whichever comes first. Is there a good reason for changing spark plugs on a low mileage vehicle that probably won’t reach 30,000 miles until it is 5 years old?

thanks to all in advance…

This post has been moved to the new Car Talk Discussion Area, by a Car Talk Lackey. The original poster is Joe_Guy.


1.5 hour labor
2 Yes good to have inspections bad to have wallet biopsey to get it.
3. Yes you can check and top off any of your fluids and yes you can look at the rubber, and suspensiuon parts for leakage. Have the brakes adjusted… when did you replace the brakes?
Consider a shop that is not a dealer for brake inspection .


I don’t know Toyota’s warranty details but if you are still under warranty then you must go get this service to preserve the warranty.

That’s actually a decent sounding service for 15K. Labor is expensive, and 165 dollars is about 1.5 - 2 hours worth at dealer rates, which is what a service like this will take to do right.

I doubt they’ll just check things off. I noticed brake hoses are on the list. Although this would be rare if not impossible, just consider: a faulty manufactured brake line fails under pressure and bursts, leaving you with reduced braking, resulting in a crash. The records show that these lines should have been inspected at the last service. Who’s liable? The line manufacturer definately, but now your dealer and Toyota USA share some of that liability because it will be argued that the faulty brake hose should have been caught on inspection.

It’s mostly whether or not you want to perserve a warranty, if it still exists, and if you’re willing to pay $165. If there is no warranty to consider then spend that $165 on a good 3 Ton floor jack, a matching set (or two) of jackstands, a good flashlight and some tools. Then get under that baby and check 'er out yourself. :slight_smile:



The only things required to keep the warranty in effect are listed in the maintenance schedule that came with the vehicle, NOT the schedule padded by the dealer.

If your vehicle has 4-wheel disc brakes there is no “adjustment.” You can check the fluid levels yourself. I doubt that anything except perhaps the windshield washer fluid will be low.

As long as you have records and receipts to prove the required service has been done the warranty is good, regardless of where the service is done or who did it. You can do it yourself if you choose.

Dealerships make boatloads of money on these overpriced “inspections.” You are correct; this is a highly overpriced oil change.


Don’t have the plugs changed until 30,000 miles. Just pay what they ask. I did it while I owned a new car and it didn’t hurt one bit. Also, if you go to the dealer, they will quickly inform you about any recall work that may be required. Why wait for the mail to stay informed. The dealer will also be aware of any service bulletins that may have just come out; they’ll know what problems to watch out for. If somebody pays $35,000 for a pickup truck, $169 seems reasonable for the 15,000 mile service. Especially if you saved all the money by not getting the extended warranty. Oh, and pay for the 30,000 mile service when it is time for that. It’ll be about twice as much as the 15,000 mile service. For the kind of service you get on a $35,000 vehicle it is cheap. It’s the cheapskate who pays the most. That engine and transmission can cost a lot more to replace.


I forgot about the two years on the plugs. Change them. It keeps them from rusting in place and causing damage to the head when you try to get them out after five years when 30,000 miles hits. And when they are out, it is a good time to change them because they are relatively cheap. Also, short trips like the ones you must have been taking aren’t good for keepin plugs clean.


If a manufacturer insists on its own dealers performing the work, in order to maintain a warranty in force, then it must provide the scheduled maintenance for free. I believe BMW (along with Mini Cooper) is the only company that has free maintenance during the warranty period.

I paid much more than $165 for a 20k-mile service on my Golf. That was the last time I paid to have someone else do work that I could do easily myself.


I recently had my 30,000 mile service done on my Hyundai Elantra. The dealer had a service package they charged $330 for. In the end, the only did the AT service, coolant flush, oil change and tire rotation because those were the only services required by the owners manual. Cost to me? $180. Most of the rest of the cost were a fuel injection cleaning and an emissions system service (which they couldn’t quite explain what was done).

As for the “inspections”, my dealer includes those as part of the $15.95 oil change they do on a regular basis.


Out of curiosity, just where do you live that you’re paying “$219.00/gal” for gas???


I am a retired auto shop manager and made my living selling car service. We specialized in scheduled maintenance so I am very aware of all the tricks of the trade. 1] There is NO new car waranty that requires you do your service with the dealership. 2] Yes, scheduled maintenance is very important to keep a car running properly 3] Yes, MOST auto repair shops over-price their inspections. My advice? Find a local auto repair shop that you trust (use “word of mouth” since most of the better shops don’t need to advertise) and go 100% by the manufacturer’s operating manual. Some “quick service” shops use their own recommendations and usually that means more $ in their pocket and less in yours. Good luck.


Who are you asking???


Oh, I see… the original poster. I think that is an old letter turned into a post.


Personally, I’ve found my local Hyundai dealerships to be very competitive with independent shops. And in my case, there are a couple of quirks with Hyundais (SP-III AT fluid required, not Mercon or Dexron; the oil filters designed for Hondas fit Hyundais but have different valve specs and may result in oil starvation of a Hyundai engine), so I feel better going to a dealer.


Starting with our 1994 Saturn wagon (which was traded in after an accident) and continuing with our 1998 Wagon, we’ve been going to the dealer for service and have been pretty happy. The 1998 is now up to 210,000 km and we are off the end of the scheduled maintenance chart but the inspections have caught things that I wouldn’t have noticed and I don’t think we’ve had any outrageous charges for things that didn’t need to be done. More importantly, we’ve built up a good relation with the service manager(s) and since they know that they are the only ones that work on the car, they are very accommodating when something does need to be fixed. They know the service history of the car and I think that contributes to the accuracy of the diagnoses. Over the past couple of years, we’ve taken the car in three times thinking that it might be terminal and ended up with the problem being fixed for a couple hundred dollars (which I consider acceptable for an older car). Prior to the 1994 Saturn, we had a 1986 Toyota that we started taking to a non-Toyota chain for service after the warranty ran out and we had some very bad experiences with repairs that didn’t fix the problem or, in some cases, caused new problems.


Change the oil and filter-check the rest yourself and keep the money in your pocket. As far as the spark plugs go that kinda makes alittle more sense. It isn’t a good idea to leave the plugs in an aluminum head for a long time.Other than that they should go at least 60k!


regarding kias and hyundais, those take more of a specialty product in fluids. I personally feel those are worth going to the dealer on. Mostly, that is because they are what I consider “disposable vehicles.” (like anybody can really afford to just throw out a car…)

Personally, I’m a little wary of the 15,000 mile checkup. I think it is more on the 2 year checkup, which is worth the money.




As Tom and Ray would say BOOOOOOOOOOOOOGUS

Just built in profit for the dealer.


If the truck is still under warrenty, and the list of maintainence items matches what your owner’s manual says, play it safe and use the dealer, after the warrenty period, use a good independant shop.


Save your $. If I were you I’ll just do the oil change myself. Keep the receipts of the oil, filter, crush washer and you should be fine then note it the maintenance log.

Personally I don’t trust mechanics doing all that work on a truck with 15K miles. They probably just let it sit on the lift until 1 hour is up.